8 Jun 2016

Father made phone call after baby's death, court told

8:39 am on 8 June 2016

A man accused of murdering his five-month-old daughter made a phone call to the girl's mother, who says he yelled for her to come home.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland Photo: justice.govt.nz

The Crown says Troy Louis Stuart Solomon had just murdered his five-month-old daughter, Aaliyah, in all likelihood by swinging her by the leg and crashing her head against a hard surface.

But Mr Solomon's lawyers say he gave the baby a bath and she slipped from his hands, landing on the floor.

Mr Solomon has denied a charge of murder and is on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

The mother, who has name suppression, wiped tears from her cheeks as she described walking back from Pak 'n Save to the family's Pukekohe state house and getting the phone call from Mr Solomon.

She said she had to hold the phone away from her ear as Mr Solomon yelled at her, telling her he had left the baby in the bath.

The couple spent the night in a car. She said Mr Solomon did not tell her what had happened, only that he had failed to protect their daughter.

Crown prosecutor Aaron Perkins said Solomon had failed to protect her from himself.

"He was alone with the baby, and for whatever reason, he became sufficently frustrated with her that he lashed out at her, causing these injuries."

The injuries included a shattered femur and severe head injuries. There was also evidence of a previous fracture which was healing.

Mr Perkins said a pathologist would give evidence to say the injuries were consistent with baby Aaliyah being picked up by the leg and swung head-first into a hard surface.

He said Mr Solomon had initially told ambulance staff, police and his own family that Aaliyah had drowned in the bath.

But his story changed hours into his police interview after being confronted with evidence of Aaliyah's head injuries.

"The Crown position is what he says in explanation is utter nonesense."

He said Mr Solomon explained he had not told the truth because he was not "man enough" and he did not think his partner's family would believe his story.

Mr Solomon's lawyer Phil Hamlin expanded on this in his opening address.

He said Mr Solomon had been bathing Aaliyah when another child had called out for his help.

"He came back to find her under the water, he lifted her up and she slipped from his hand and crashed to the floor."

Mr Hamlin said it was the fall to the floor, feet first, that caused Aaliyah's broken leg and fatal head injuries.

Mr Hamlin said Mr Solomon called 111 immediately and performed CPR but to no avail.

He said Mr Solomon accepted responsibility for causing his daughter's death but he was a devoted father and what had happened was an accident - not murder.

The trial, before Justice Davison and a jury, will hear evidence from 28 witnesses and is set to run for three weeks.